The Houseplants and I

I’ve been fussing over the houseplants all week, because it’s January and West Virginia isn’t scheduled to see the sun until late April and they’re all starting to look a bit sickly.  Additionally, it was 60 some degrees outside today, so I took the opportunity to repot some of them that wouldn’t make it to summer otherwise.  This turned out to be a much more complicated process than expected, because I remembered the three inch rubber tree struggling in the broken terrarium at the last minute and had to find something to do with the soil once I’d emptied said terrarium.  Somehow tidying the pots in the storage room also happened, because I was trying to find more drip trays.  I didn’t, but I did find the bird feeder we’ve been looking for two weeks.  (This will be henceforth known as: Today’s Epic Win.)

I’m still not quite done.  There’s a little more cleanup to do, I want to plant kitty grass in one of the pots I put soil in and the terrarium is still broken.  I think, for now, it’s going to stay that way.

We have a lot of houseplants, which is funny because my mother has a bit of a black thumb and dad can kinda care less, as far as I tell.  I think this is because my mother likes houseplants, but if isn’t a philodendron, she’ll have a pretty good go at killing it regardless of what she does.  She’d probably kill the philodendrons too, but I’m not sure those are capable of dying.  Despite my best efforts – leaving it in a dimly lit room, over-watering it, leaving its pot in a saucer of dirty sludge for weeks on end, etc. – I’ve not managed to kill one yet.

Okay, so I’m not trying too hard.  I feel terribly guilty if I don’t take care of houseplants because they’re entirely dependent on me.  I also feel bad for abandoned plants and plants on sale racks.  That’s how we got the poinsettia that’s now on the kitchen table and the Boston fern that’s in my bathroom.  It started out as a $3 handful of sickly fronds and is now a yard wide and is still pushing up new shoots in the dead of winter.

Naturally, there have been some causalities.  Murray the Kitchen Bonsai didn’t last very long, despite my best efforts.  I killed my airplant by over-watering.  My moss garden didn’t take because I couldn’t keep it damp enough, but, generally, plants seem to like me.


I have this maidenhair fern that I’ve been struggling with for months and now that I’ve seen a third tiny little frond curling up out of the soil, I’m going to do my best to keep it alive.  So I did a little online research and came up with an article titled: How to Care for Maidenhair Ferns: the Diva of Houseplants.  Now, I have zero tolerance for divas, even though I live with four feline ones, but I guess it can’t help being a little delicate.  So I’ve built a little terrarium for it out of a plastic box and put a few pebbles and sphagnum moss around it to make it more aesthetically pleasing and we’ll see how it goes.


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